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A year of insight: Music & Mind

Welcome back, it's been a while!

I have completed my doctoral study so will have more time to dedicate to sharing my findings and own personal understandings.

I hope you all enjoyed the new monthly radio show on Totally Wired radio where I talk to established musicians on their own music an minds. Along with this I have been commissioned to write a weekly blog for Tonic Music exploring my own experience, the existing empirical evidence and my own developing theories from clinical practice.

Please check out all the support and courses that Tonic Music have on offer. These range from peer groups, mental health trainings and other psychological resources.

Here's the first blog, reposted with the kind permission of Tonic Music.

To tie in with the launch of the radio show and the ‘Musicking Mind’ feature, I will be writing short blogs in a series surrounding musicians, mental health, what the clever (academic) (allegedly) people say and what I have experienced myself.

For those of you that don’t know (where have you been?)…..I will be presenting a monthly radio show on ‘Totally Wired Radio’ where I play songs that emotionally move me and also interview professional musicians about how musicking has impacted them emotionally. The show is called ‘Tonic Music’, relating to how we use music as a tonic to lift us in times of need and will air on July the 14th followed by the 2nd Friday of every month.

My first interviewee will be the mega-talented Ian Broudie from the Lightning Seeds, a prolific songwriter and a one-man-band of a writer, producer and performer. Ian spoke at length about how his own music making is a place of relationships and community. He described the feelings of touring as being similar to the gatherings at football matches or going off to war, a metaphor for the communal movement to new territory (rather than anything more sinister).

This ‘gang’ ethos of camaraderie is obviously a huge part of being a musician which is often overlooked by the white coats who write about musicians and the music industry from an external, clinical perspective. For example, we all hear about how the music industry can make us sick or damage us to points of destruction but often overlooked are the friendships, the familial sense of gathering and kinship we find in our music communities. This can be experienced through many diverse experiences from being in a band or going to club nights where the masses become one through the tempo and melodic bridge emanating from the selector.

Yes, band dynamics can be tempestuous but ultimately it is a gathering of like minds, a group activity that we need more than ever in these difficult technologically driven (and COVID) isolating of times. My own experience of being a consumer in mod clubs, house clubs and gig going through to performing in many bands, solo touring and DJing have been a staple of my own relationship needs that were badly impacted during COVID. For those interested I mentioned how I used music playlists

I will explore this in more detail in a later ramble.

So…as a ‘takeaway’, value your music, value the musicians, value your connections, hold lightly the media and white coat narrative of music industry being all doom and destruction.

Yes, it can be very difficult being a professional musician but there are also valuable experiences amongst the struggles. Also, if you are a musician, don’t forget the Tonic Peer Groups! A community resource for all of us on the inside. We get it, we get you.

Next week I will be continuing this theme with some specific examples of how music develops these feelings of community, the why and hows, as both musicians and punters.


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